What’s your favorite color? OK, if you said “beige” you can’t play! I’m not saying the color you would paint your room or wear, but the color you have always been drawn to and liked! Your mind and emotional state can be greatly affected by colors, as each color promotes common physical and psychological responses. Yellow for example, stimulates the brain and concentration, orange is an antidepressant and good for the immune system, red will increase stamina and stimulate the adrenal gland and blue tells the brain to make calming chemicals like GABA.
I read about a prison in Texas that painted all the cells in the “common area” a soft pale pink, as pink fosters feelings of affection and social acceptance… “Boy, orange is your color, Lefty!”
The point is, color has a profound effect on our mood, as well as our physical and mental health. I learned that color is one of the most important aspects of the human visual sensory. Of all the things we see, color has the most impact on our emotions; more than any other image. One would think witnessing an explosion, a beautiful sunset or a murder scene would trump “color” in promoting emotions, but viewed in a B&W photograph they are mute… it’s the color that evokes a feeling reaction.
As designers you know how important color is in creating an environment, yet here we are blending our neutrals in this lingering, colorless trend. Neutrals are restful, balanced and ya gotta lean in to hear them. Beautiful, serious and stoic, yet the monochromatic environment is not for everyone… or every space.
This palette, when presented in the right room, projects a quiet-tasteful-quality feeling, like an Armani suit worn simple and unembellished. Yet even Armani’s discerning aesthetic is lost when worn with BIG hair and make-up, as are the monochromatic furnishings and fabrics displayed in a room not equal to the task… like these dreary grey rooms.
I had a client once who loved the beige-taupe-grey palette. She was sure this was the ticket to sophistication. At our first meeting I remember sitting in her living room of beige. She was perched on a tan ottoman, in a cream silk blouse and beige trousers, her eyes were hazel and her hair and skin were the color of sand. Her voice was calm and steady as she shared her vision for the room, waxing on about subtle elegance and rich tradition found in the neutrals. The more she spoke, the lighter she became, and by the end of her story she had completely disappeared, with only the 3-karats on her finger to mark her location. Neutrals did not serve my client, so I gently introduced color into her life. Ten years later, peacock blue is her favorite color!
Maybe you have a client right now who needs color in their home. Maybe the client doesn’t “go” with their current colors, because not every skin tone can stand up to acid green, or maybe they have a sunny personality and their palette is dark and somber. It’s your job to let them know and show them how a colorful ethnic pattern mix looks as a backdrop for their fabulous bohemian wardrobe!
I think we all agree that keeping your anchor pieces — sofa/sectional, case goods and flooring — in the neutrals is smart and practical for changing it up. Maybe you start with the neutral room and add a “pop of color” in pillows, drapes, accessories, a chair… or you paint the walls a bold color in a monochromatic space.
Now, What’s your favorite color? Why not bring it into your home, even if it’s not part of your color scheme. Just add a spot of your favorite color in a pillow or artwork; it will make you feel good each time you pass it. The bottom line: color promises to make an impact and change the mood of a room, so maybe you dump oatmeal altogether and taste the rainbow!